ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball broke ground today on 1,100 linear feet of stream restoration near Fels Lane in Ellicott City. The project builds on the administration’s record of advancing environmentally friendly stream restoration projects, with over 30 projects in design, construction or completed since 2018, totaling more than 10 miles of improvements on Howard County streams and tributaries. Photos of the event can be found here. Aerial footage of the project area can be found here.
For many of our residents, these small creeks and streams pass through or near their property, and with increasingly harsh rainstorms, invasive plants, and time, the stream banks begin to erode and deteriorate. As these streams are reconstructed the beneficial impact is multifaceted – natural structures, native plants, and new trees prevent erosion, which improves water quality, and aids long-term stability. Trees are some of the most effective tools we have when it comes to sustainability – which is why each of our stream restoration projects requires at least twice as many trees to be planted for every tree that needs to be removed. In fact, since taking office we’ve helped plant more than 52,000 trees in Howard County.
In addition to improving water quality, the stream restoration projects boast large tree plantings. On the Fels Lane project, 24 trees will need to be removed but more than 300 trees will be planted. For every tree that is removed, 12 will be planted in its place. All stream restoration projects require at least twice as many trees to be planted for every tree that needs to be removed. Stream restoration efforts also help to reduce the number of impervious surfaces in Howard County, leading to less runoff, and better stormwater management.
The County is undertaking numerous stream restoration and water quality type projects and I want to recognize the efforts of our Bureau of Environmental Services, Mark DeLuca the bureau chief and his staff for their continued efforts to pursue these projects. Many of the projects are a collaborative effort with the Office of Community Sustainability and we’re excited to begin another project within the Ellicott City watershed.
There are currently more than 20 stream restoration projects in design or under construction in Howard County. Since 2018, 11 projects have been completed, including:
- A 5,000+ foot stream restoration in the Font Hill neighborhood
- A 2,450 foot tributary restoration near Dorsey Run in Jessup
- A 2,000 foot stream restoration off Gray Rock Drive in Ellicott City
- A 1,350 foot stream restoration near Cherrytree Farm in Laurel
“In all of the work we do to protect the environment, there is rarely if ever one project that can be the solution,” said Office of Community Sustainability Director Josh Feldmark. “Rather it is always a combination of projects working together. So, while this project is far from the only one needed to protect the Hudson watershed it is a critical keystone project. This project is fixing a crumbling stream bank and leaving the entire area in significantly better ecological condition than it is currently with the planting of 300 trees on site.”
"It's really exciting to see this project moving forward because it is holistic in its approach to address stormwater, erosion, sedimentation and water quality throughout a micro-drainage area,” said Howard EcoWorks Executive Director Lori Lilly. “Most of the sediment clogging our streams comes from eroding stream banks. In this case, we also have an eroding hillslope that is a tremendous source of sediment into the Tiber watershed. This comprehensive watershed-based solution, coupled with larger retention and conveyance projects identified in the Safe and Sound plan plus community-based engagement, approaches and education such as those led by Howard EcoWorks, will certainly go a long way toward making Ellicott City more resilient to future storms.”